Wednesday, April 9, 2008


We’ve all done it. And if you haven’t yet, you will. “We” being all that practice yoga—whether it’s once a day or once a year. What is “it?” The yoga toot.

Flatus in class.

I was in a yoga teacher training a few years ago (I abandoned that track a while back as it occurred to me that I’d rather focus on my own practice than other folks’. A very yogic attitude.), and we were even instructed on the yoga toot. Don’t acknowledge it, we were told. Ignore it, they said. Duh, I thought. What teacher is going to halt class to say, All right, ‘fess up. Who’s the gassy one? Which one of you interrupted the blissful sounds of pranayama with your inability to hold it in?

While squeezing every muscle that you can locate to maintain a posture, sometimes audible things slip. It happens. You blush. You hope beyond hope that the music was loud enough to cover the sound so that your neighbor didn’t hear it. You move on.

Last night, I was in class next to a woman—we’ll call her Jan, to protect her innocence—who had a little run in with the yoga toot.

Jan is blond. Jan is probably a little past middle-aged. Jan is sturdily built. Jan is often in class. She even has her moving Crane to Tripod Headstand, a mere fantasy for me; that makes me guess she’s been practicing a while.

Ah, so last night, as we’re moving from Warrior 1 to Warrior 2, Jan’s GI tract liberated a little toot. Okay, not so little. It was pretty loud. I’m pretty sure the teacher heard it. Then, as we’re moving from Warrior 2 to Side-angle Pose, she erupts again. This time, really loud. And long. I blushed on her behalf. And then, when coming out of Shoulderstand, her innards release yet another embarrassing sound. She must have been dying of horror. I know I would have been.

So we’re lying in Savasana at the end of class. Lights are low. Music is soothing. Feet are splayed. Palms are relaxed. Teacher's instructed us to Relax. We’re relaxing. Suddenly, next to me, I hear Jan start to cry. Not big crying—just little crying. Occasionally, yoga does that to people—helps them release pent emotions, but I could not help but wonder if her persistent flatulence had embarrassed her to tears.


cat+tadd=sam said...

This is very sad. I feel sad for her.

Janeen said...

Oh my heavens, my heart goes out to her, but yet I know how she feels!

M to the E to the R to the I said...

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. Nothing funnier than a good gas joke at someone else's expense. I can say that, cause I am normally the one with the tooties. It feels good to know someone else is crying themselves to sleep at night too. Ha ha ha.

aLiCe said...

I just wanted to say that you are really funny and i like you. and your stories

Hinsley Ford said...

Were you trying to hold back a smile or a chuckle? I would laugh not so much about the woman passing wind, as we all know it's natural, it happens, and we're expected to be grown up about it, and not all Beavis and Butthead-like -- but I tend to have those unavoidable bursts of laughter just because I am not supposed to. The more silent the environment, the more serious, somber, or meaningful...the more I struggle to abstain. Church, christenings, weddings...I become an 8 year old with the giggles. I'm not sure I would have been able to contain myself alongside of Jan, and hence I would have felt TERRIBLE afterwards...which would probably have lead to my having to find another yoga studio.

Good on ya for doing yoga though :)